7 Things That Count As Micro-Cheating In A Relationship, According To Experts

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

When it comes to infidelity, whether or not someone has cheated isn't always black and white. But now that there's a new term floating around — micro-cheating — it may complicate matters even further. So what is micro-cheating? It's a nifty new word used to describe all the little ways someone might cheat on their partner, without technically doing so. An emotional affair involves having strong feelings for someone who isn't your partner, and thus talking to them and thinking about them in a way that's more than just a little friendly. And a physical affair usually means acting on those feelings.

But micro-cheating is something else entirely, with its own set of definitions. "Micro-cheating is when you do [things] that might not be considered outright infidelity, but are nonetheless breaches of trust that could lead to genuine cheating in the future," certified counselor Jonathan Bennett tells Bustle.

And the problem is, these habits — while not as blatant as a full-on emotional or physical affair — can be just as damaging to a relationship. "Micro-cheating can negatively impact relationships because, even though the actions seem small and inconsequential by themselves, they can lead to a gradual erosion of trust."

While reading the signs below, keep in mind that we're all human, so it's OK if you find another person attractive, or catch up with an ex on social media. Micro-cheating is more about your intention, motivation, and the secrecy of it all than it is the actions themselves. That said, here are a few habits experts say can count as micro-cheating — and lead to more problems down the road — if you're not careful.